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Thought for the Day by Matt Jones (Associate Minister for Music)
What do you do when you face a setback?
All of us will face one, at least once a year. It may be small. It may be large. But we will face them. It is how we respond to them which is significant.
Read Ezra 4
It’s a long reading, but important contextual background to where we are going. Let me try to paint the picture of where in Biblical history this is happening:
Now if you are not a big fan of reading, I can point you toward Ezra 4:11-16. Here the enemies of God’s people who are trying to prevent them from rebuilding the temple have sent a sneaky letter to the new king (Artaxerxes) trying to get him to stop the temple building. And you know what is interesting? What they write isn’t incorrect. Yes it is true that prior to the exile these things happened. But it’s ‘old news’. They used ‘old news’ to disrupt the rebuilding of the temple. But however deceptive the plan, it worked. (V24)
So, God’s people faced a setback. How did they respond? They could hang up the building tools, forget the plans and just ‘get on with the rest of life’…
Read Ezra 5:1-2
When it was the easy choice to give up, God’s people turned to God. They submitted to His will, trusted in His plans, and as directed by the prophets they got on with the work. You can read to the end of the chapter if you want, it’s a glorious ending. They use the same tactic that was used against them in chapter 4 to show what they were doing was in fact justified all along.
But back to the subject of today. How do you face a setback? I think we can learn that a good response is to turn our face to God, submit to His will, and to keep doing the things they He has asked us to do.
How might you put this into practice in the next couple of weeks?
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